Tigers rush for 249 yards, throw for 102

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- LSU finally found its ground game.

Alley Broussard ran for 80 yards and a touchdown, spearheading a strong running game by LSU (No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 19 AP) in a 24-7 victory Saturday night over Vanderbilt.

"That was our game plan," Broussard said. "We wanted to come in and run the ball with more consistency. We worked on it all week in practice and we did it well out there tonight."

The Tigers (6-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) have been inconsistent on offense and struggled to run -- averaging just 155 yards a game.

Only one back, Justin Vincent, had a 100-yard game this season, and that was against Arkansas State. But against Vanderbilt, LSU rushed for 273 yards, with Joseph Addai adding 77 and quarterback Marcus Randall 68.

LSU, which was second in the SEC in passing at 249 yards a game, threw only 11 times for 102 yards against the Commodores (2-6, 1-4). It was the fewest passes for LSU since the Tigers threw only nine times against Tulane on Nov. 27, 1980.

"We wanted to run the ball, but we also wanted to have a balance on offense," coach Nick Saban said. "I was a little concerned that we didn't throw it more. We did run the ball effectively and that was a plus."

The Tigers also got two key plays -- a blocked field-goal attempt and a fumble recovery -- from defensive back Jessie Daniels.

LSU opened with an 11-play drive of 60 yards. All but one play and 9 yards came on the ground. Ryan Gaudet capped the drive with a 26-yard field goal.

In the second quarter, LSU drove to the Vanderbilt 13. But Chris Jackson's 30-yard field-goal try went wide left.

JaMarcus Russell, who did not play at all last week, started the game at quarterback for LSU. He mainly handed the ball off, completing only 1-of-3 passes, and was replaced by Randall in the second quarter.

The overmatched Commodores struggled against the Tigers' defense, ranked fifth in the nation. A 47-yard Vanderbilt field-goal attempt was blocked by Daniels in the second period.

The next time the Commodores had the ball, Kwane Doster fumbled and Daniels recovered to set up LSU on the Vanderbilt 21.

Three plays later, Broussard ran in from 11 yards out, but LSU was flagged for holding. After a 14-yard run by Randall, Broussard took in from the 7 and the Tigers led 10-0.

The Commodores put together an 83-yard drive and capped it with a 1-yard touchdown run by Jay Cutler to cut LSU's lead to three points at the half.

"We felt good," Cutler said. "We moved the ball well and scored right there before halftime. We did some good things."

LSU had not led at the half since beating Mississippi State 51-0 four games earlier. Subsequently, the Tigers were blown out at Georgia, rallied at Florida and came back to edge Troy State.

Randall, who completed 4-of-6 for 78 yards, had thrown the ball just once before uncorking a 34-yarder early in the third quarter. Craig Davis made a leaping catch in the end zone for a 17-7 lead.

LSU's Skyler Green finished the scoring, returning a punt 65 yards in the third quarter.

Cutler completed 10-of-34 passes for 111 yards for the Commodores. He left in the third quarter.

"My neck feels a little stiff from that late hit in the third quarter," he said. "It just pressed my neck straight down and I felt numb for a second. I'm going to get X-rays, but I'm fine."

LSU center Ben Wilkerson was injured at the end of the game. Saban said he did not know how bad the injury was, but Wilkerson had a cast on his left leg as he left the locker room.